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New president aims to extend Age Concern services

New president aims to extend Age Concern services

"My dream is that all older New Zealanders can enjoy the benefits of Age Concern services and advocacy," says Age Concern New Zealand's newly elected National President, Liz Baxendine QSO, of Christchurch..

Mrs Baxendine plans to use her term to further develop Age Concern's network of 35 councils, associates and branches.

"With an increase in older people in our community, Age Concern has plenty of challenges ahead and I have the skills, enthusiasm and time to give to the task.

"We have an underestimated resource: older people themselves. Their wisdom and guidance should always be taken into account, within our organisation and the wider community."

Liz Baxendine says her life experiences have made her a fighter for the rights of people less fortunate than herself.

After tertiary education, she worked in social work and apprenticeship training roles before coming to New Zealand in 1964.

"Working in the slums of Glasgow gave me respect for people in daunting circumstances. I've known what it's like to fear going to the letterbox because of the bills it might contain.

"One of the things that affected me was the experience of bringing my totally isolated 89-year-old mother-in-law out here to New Zealand so my children and I could care for her. I had to fight bureaucracy, lawyers, and immigration every step of the way."

Mrs Baxendine was born in Scotland to a family with strong New Zealand connections. Although a Scots accent still enlivens her speech, she has lived in New Zealand for over 40 years.

A Christchurch-based widow with two children and three grandchildren, she participates in a wide range of community and voluntary work in addition to the new presidential role. She is a Life Member of Age Concern Canterbury, following many years of voluntary service.

"I value being a volunteer as it keeps me mentally active and in touch with our society," she says.

Age Concern members elected a new Board to a two-year term at their national conference last weekend.

The new Age Concern New Zealand Board comprises: Liz Baxendine; National Vice-President, Evelyn Weir; and Board members Marie Hull-Brown; Dean Hyde; Lesley Keast; Ann MacGregor; Jill Williams; and Dr Robert Aitken (appointed specialist adviser).


ENDS

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